Patterns and processes in boundary marine ecosystems”

6th July to 10th July -2015 – Barcelona (Spain)

Attention, the admission period has been extended.

Most water-mass boundaries described in oceanography refer to transitional physical structures such as thermoclines, haloclines, surface layers, marine fronts and nepheloid layers. These ergocline regions have often been defined as areas of sharp gradients in physical and biogeochemical properties, where the rate of diffusion is a key ecological quantity. Such structures contribute to slow down the horizontal and vertical exchange of properties, including suspended particles and planktonic organisms. It has long been recognised that these structures sustain strong biotic and abiotic interactions and favour the confinement of the suspended matter which is transformed in situ by the organisms. Many authors generalise this idea considering these boundaries as interface regions where the magnitude of the ecological flows (nutrients, organisms, matter, energy, or information) abruptly contrasts with that of the surroundings. Other well-known ocean boundaries are located in the interface between the water column and the seabed, where benthic organisms play a notorious role in the exchange of matter and energy. Margalef considered these types of boundaries as sites of direct ecological flows between two subsystems -turbulent and stable-, where a high shear stress (or an analogous tension function) is generated and where biological production is enhanced. Most of these boundaries are asymmetric in terms of productivity (P/B), being it higher in the unstable side, whereas biomass accumulation is greater on the stable one. The study of these interesting processes and patterns in marine boundary systems requires multidisciplinary approaches.

The aim of this Colloquium is to enhance the exchange of ideas and to promote imaginative thinking by bringing together ecological knowledge from experts on different scientific areas.

The Colloquium is inspired by the figure of Ramon Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who worked for many years in the Institute of Marine Sciences and the University of Barcelona. He was one of the founders of modern ecology. He broke old paradigms and contributed to science with innovative theories about the space-time structure of the ecosystems, the relations between diversity, biodiversity, stability and connectivity, the fundamental paper of energy in the biological productivity and the interrelations between ecological succession and evolution. He wrote around 400 papers and books including, “On certain unifying principles in ecology”, “Perspectives in Ecological Theory”, “Information Theory in Ecology”, and “Our Biosphere”. Margalef was also an encouraging teacher and mentor.

Margalef recognized the importance of the physical environment to understand the behaviour of species and ecosystems. We believe this third Colloquium will be, again, an excellent opportunity to foster lectures and discussions on the relevance of an interdisciplinary perspective in Ecology. We expect to attain this important aim through a very dynamic colloquium, with an important component of discussion, exchange of ideas and research.


The Summer Course is organized as a joint effort of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM, and the Catalan Association of Oceanographers (ACOIO, Josep  Maria Gili, Josep Lluís Pelegrí and Celia Marrasé principal investigators of the ICM will be in charge of all scientific and lecturing activities. Eli Bonfill and Aurora Requena, members of ACOIO will handle all the organizational issues.